THE future of several key sites in and around Colne are set to go under the microscope with the formation of a new task force.

Borough council development partners PEARL are said to be in talks with NHS property chiefs over the soon-to-be vacated Colne Health Centre building in Market Street.

And bosses at PEARL are also being approached over the former Oak Mill site off Skipton Road, where demolition work has recently taken place. The partnership — a link-up between Nelson-based Barnfield and the borough council — is already the new landlord of Colne Precinct.

And now a working group, involving council leader Coun Joe Cooney, town centres cabinet member Coun Paul White, planning cabinet member Coun Tony Greaves and County Coun Dorothy Lord, will aim to co-ordinate regeneration efforts.

Coun Cooney, speaking at a Colne area committee meeting, said it was important that discussions were held with PEARL to stress the ‘uniqueness’ of Colne.

In recent times the town has seen a steady influx of independent traders, both along Albert Road and with the redevelopment of Colne Arcade.

Coun Cooney, who is chairman of PEARL, said: “It is important going forward that we look hard at Colne.

“It’s a wonderful town, and we need to make sure we’re in a situation to promote that going forward.

“We want to be able to make sure independent shopkeepers are able to come here, grow here, and that we become a visitor attraction for our wonderful high street.”

Coun Greaves, who will also sit on the new working group, said that around 30 years ago ‘half the shops in Colne were empty’.

He added: “The efforts of this council and this committee, together with the town centre forum, has contributed towards the present relatively favourable position and we do not want to go backwards.”